by Richard Chilee
Today, there is a huge question mark hanging over the completion of the geographic and political project called “Nigeria.” Despite the abundant resources – human and material – deposited therein, this project is still trudging at an ever slowing rate, never near its completion. Even with this setback, substantial unrestricted powers for decision making are still in the hands of a heinous caucus, with far reaching effects in many important and even strategic areas.
The crisis that has hit the developmental process of Nigeria is the fruit of an erroneous approach to the question, a political question that does not seek to start from reality, “What is Nigeria?” The present stagnation of the Nigerian project needs to be seen in finding the answer to this question. This particular question is important, since it concerns and tackles the very foundation on which the Nigerian project began.
Nigeria’s problems, I think, stems from the fact that the relationship between reason and politics has essentially been diverted from the concept of truth itself. Ambition being seen as the core of politics has now become an end in itself. This leads, for example, to a hysterical neglect of salient issues, which also reveal the limitations of the political leaders who have followed each other in recent years. This neglect has gradually led the Nigerian project away from its original goals of its founding fathers.
The political and geographical project that we all call Nigeria, as we know, actually grew out of the amalgamation (Marriage) of the poor north and rich south or, better still as a results of the struggles, hard work and strategic planning of our nationalists for independence from our colonial masters whose principles of association, instead of assimilation, keeps us dependent on them. Our nationalists were able to present a vision that was pragmatic as it was true and achievable. But is this vision respected today? Corruption, ethnic differences, unemployment, cronyism, nepotism, outright wickedness and abject poverty now reign in this project.
If you consider reports, motions and written statement given by different concerned world bodies, you will find out that the Nigerian project have been subjected to various forms of forces by its ruling class. These forces, in recent years, instead of vigorously and actively helping the Nigerian citizens to strengthen their lives and the economy, have tried to demolish the very reasons for conceiving and desiring a united and prosperous Nation.
Today, the Nigerian project has run into contradictions that are so powerful and numerous that instead of offering a positive response to issues plaguing its development, it further stalls its advancement. Nigeria leaders often appear to be an obstacle to this much needed development. It has gotten to a stage where dereliction is now a distinct possibility. Dereliction in this sense means rejecting its own history, its identity and its roots, the roots of the experience of dialogue and promises of the founding fathers which are ingredients to peace, development and effective standard of living.
This must change.
If this era is the starting point for trying to understand what has happened to the evolution of the Nigerian political system, we now need to focus and pay immense attention to details. We have to understand that at the core, what is involved is not political debate as an end in itself, but the very survival of our experience as a people.
Nigeria has to remember that its ability to choose the right options for Nigerians today and in the future lies in the relationship between the law of nature and politics. Otherwise, we will end up damaging not so much this political and geographic project but the experience of its today’s citizens and tomorrow’s posterity.
What can we offer that will just be more than a meaning? Is this political and geographical project willing to advance an experience that will promote peaceful coexistence between people? What do we have to offer if we are not capable of questioning ourselves about the grounds of what unites us? The question of the Nigerian constitution exists at this level. We have to answer this challenge; we have to be capable of changing who we are for who we must become.
If we are to have a better Nigeria, we have to start believing again, and work and struggle for this. We can no longer leave it at the hands of unscrupulous politicians; we must fold our sleeves and get to work. This presents us an opportunity to redyypniscover ourselves and our identity, the reason we are what we are. It is our duty and only our responsibility to take up this challenge. But are we willing?
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